Story last updated at 3/6/2013 - 1:41 pm
Juneau Family Health and Birth Center has been chosen to participate in a national Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Program with a goal of reducing preterm birth. The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) will be analyzing data from 48 birth centers on preterm birth, birth outcomes, and cost effectiveness. Juneau Family Health and Birth Center serves a high percentage of Medicaid clients and is excited to participate in this prevention-based, cost-effective study.
Preterm birth is estimated to cost over $26 billion per year and impacts close to 12 percent of all births in the United States. Preterm birth is associated with increased risk of lifelong health and developmental problems. The preterm birth rate has increased by 36 percent in the last 20 years.
In response to this persistent problem, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation announced early last year that it would be awarding grants to initiatives that could demonstrate viable models for reducing preterm birth. The American Association of Birth Centers was recently chosen to receive a $5.35 million four year grant to measure outcomes and costs from enhanced prenatal care using the birth center model of care for women enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP who are at risk of having a preterm birth.
The birth center model of enhanced prenatal care program, known as AABC Strong Start in Birth Centers, will be evaluated in 48 birth center sites, located in 22 states across the US. The Juneau Family Health and Birth Center will participate as one of the Strong Start sites. In operation since 1998, Juneau Family Health and Birth Center provides this enhanced model of care, and serves a range of clients including Medicaid (Denali KidCare) participants.
Birth center maternity care is focused on the needs of the woman and her family, and is a time intensive relationship-based style of care that employs evidence-based care, collaborative practice, health education and emotional support. Birth center care is a collaborative practice, with teams of health professionals available for referral when needed.
"Freestanding Birth Centers have a strong track record of providing high quality care for mothers and babies for over 30 years in the U.S, including significantly lower preterm birth rates. AABC looks forward to partnering with CMMI to identify how birth centers can best contribute to a national solution to improving our maternal infant outcomes," said Jill Alliman, Project Director for AABC's Strong Start project.